This weekend was the fourth PlayStation Experience, a big ol’ event hosted by Sony to showcase all their games and game-related products. It’s actually turning into quite the choice event to attend, what with the headliner panels including Hannah Hart moderating The Last of Us Part II and Tim Schafer hosting Media Molecule talking about Dreams. It’s stuff you just wouldn’t see at other industry events.
It also once again (as it always has) gone back-to-back with The Game Awards, which is an interesting one-two combo. It creates a push and pull of content. On one hand, it gives Sony a chance to prime the pumps with Geoff Keighley before going deeper over the weekend. On the other, it gives them more incentive to hold back and use the video game hype to do their own big announcements.
Honestly, it feels a bit like how E3 is shaping up. Individual companies are excising their primo stuff to their own pressers like with Bethesda and Microsoft and leaving the big multi-platform stuff to exist within the legacy events for Activision and EA. Luckily that lines up with Keighley’s own vision for The Game Awards, suppressing the number of premieres and increasing the (aggressively anemic) awards presentations.
It’s interesting, though, that over the course of the three-hour keynote and ten hours of streaming panels, only a smattering of the total trailers uploaded to the PlayStation YouTube channel made it to air. And even what made it, it wasn’t all that inciting. You really have to sift through the speakers to get to the nuggets of gold.
But anyway, let’s get down to business.
Donut County Gameplay
If you haven’t heard of Donut County, then you should educate yourself. You will be excited. It comes from Ben Esposito, who has worked previously on deliberate and introspective titles like The Unfinished Swan and What Remains of Edith Finch but also completely bonkers games like Sonic Dreams Collection and Bubsy3d: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective.
Donut County is a game where you control a hole that swallows up things and grows bigger. But more importantly, it’s built around a seemingly innocuous question: what is a hole? Is the hole the thing or is a hole something a thing contains? Books have actually be written about this quandary. Anyway, this game looks cool and you should check it out when it releases on the PlayStation 4, PC, macOS, and iOS next year.
The Last of Us Part II Tidbits
The whole thing is worth watching, but the bit takeaway is straight from director Neil Druckmann. “No one is safe — not even [Joel and Ellie].” So we can at least unpack that Joel and Ellie are definitely back, a somewhat errant concern after the last trailer focused entirely on new characters. But it also seeds the question: is this where Joel and Ellie die?
The game is also only about halfway done, which means there’s probably still some substantial changes left to be uncovered before release. And that release is likely going to be late 2018 or summer 2019. Who really knows, though. Druckmann did, however, confirm we’d see more at E3.
MediEvil is, uh…Back?
This is so weird that I just had to include it. A remaster of an otherwise mediocre PlayStation game from 1998? Yeah, why not. Let’s do it.
Detroit: Become Human Becomes Cooperative
How completely entrancing. Quantic Dream showed up to show off David Cage’s latest fever dream with an extended stage demo, and lo and behold, humanity’s desire to yell and be heard took over. As producer Guillaume de Fondaumière fiddled the sticks, the crowd yelled out what they wanted to happen.
It really felt like one of Telltale’s Crowd Play events like at this year’s SXSW for Guardians of the Galaxy, even though I’m sure it wasn’t intended to go that way. I won’t spoil how it goes since it was actually unexpected riveting, but the game really does look rather promising. Look for Detroit: Become Human to release exclusively for the PlayStation 4 early next year.
Monster Hunter: World
To be honest, I’ve never been all that into the Monster Hunter series. I’m not entirely sure why; everything about it screams my taste. Big cinematic combat, substantial fantasy lore, etc. This should be 100% my jam.
Maybe it’s all coming together because I’m genuinely intrigued by what I’ve seen so far of Monster Hunter: World. Four-player co-op + ginormous open worlds? Hell yeah. Let’s get it on. We’ll find out soon enough if it’s up my alley or not when it comes out for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 26, 2018, and PC at some point after that.
Ghost of Tsushima Details
Announced at Paris Games Week last month, not much was known about Ghost of Tsushima other than it’s being made by Sucker Punch Productions. You know, the same studio behind the Infamous and Sly Cooper games, making this period samurai project a sharp departure from their existing oeuvre.
From the panel, we know that it’s about the Mongol invasion of Tsushima in 1274. You’re one of the few survivors (perhaps the only survivor) and then you set out to get your vengeance. Also they motion captured a horse, so there’s that. No release date yet.
Jupiter & Mars Announced
“Two dolphins embark on the adventure of a lifetime.” Say no more. Sign me the hell up. Jupiter & Mars looks absolutely nuts in the best way possible. Look at that digital future dolphin swim alongside that acid space whale!
It’s also coming from Tigertron, a studio that aims specifically at raising awareness through its games. These dolphins are trying to save other wildlife and restoring coral reefs all over the world. It’s pretty cool to see a company with such a specific and laudable objective at work. Look for Jupiter & Mars in Q2 next year on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR.
Blood and Truth Touches Stuff
Blood and Truth was one of the more interesting things to come out of Paris Games Week early November. Sony’s London Studio took that truncated The London Heist PlayStation VR demo and turned it into a full-fledged game. It sounds like they’ve done a lot of work to go from “this is neat” to “this is significant.”
There’s such a huge variety of mechanics that need to be nailed to make it all work, though. Picking locks, climbing ladders, reloading and firing guns, and, lest we forget, ambulation, the lingering problem of traditional VR experiences all over. We’ll probably have to wait to see if it works when it comes out for the PlayStation VR at some point in the future.
What an absolutely fascinating concept. In Moonlighter, you play as Will, a shopkeeper, and you spend your days almost too obviously tending to your store. It’s a shockingly thorough shop owner simulator, stocking items and tending to customers flowing through your shelves and doors. But then night comes.
Will also dreams of being a hero, which he fulfills when he closes his shop and heads into monster-filled dungeons once the sun sets. It’s also a beautiful game with what look like Bastion-esque combat. Really looking forward to this one when it comes out (hopefully) next year on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, macOS, and Linux.
Guacamelee! 2 Demo
I AM SO EFFING JACKED FOR THIS GAME. THAT IS ALL. CARRY ON.
Oh, also, it comes out early next year on the PlayStation 4.
Flipping Death “Announcement”
I am so thoroughly entranced by this trailer. I missed it when it was actually announced way earlier this year, but it looks a bit like if Laika made Broken Age but it has more platforming and puzzling interactivity with a bit of a Grim Fandango death slant to the story. That flipping mechanic seems so tremendously cool.
And even in this brief trailer, the characterizations look like a lot of fun. Hopefully by the time the full game comes out, they remain charming and lighthearted in a game that is otherwise all about death. Look for Flipping Death early next year on a bunch of platforms.
Uncharted Cast Panel
Well that’s just fun.
Thinking back on a franchise that has evolved into one of the biggest powerhouse series in the industry’s brief history is fantastic. Even if it’s not packed with news or anything, it’s worth listening to these people talk about Uncharted and how it’s impacted them, the studio, and, well, a lot more stuff.
Change Your PSN Username Soon
Dope. Good job, Greg Miller. Still got those journalist genes in you.